GRDA Helps Bring Whitewater Park Experience To Illinois River

Thursday, October 29th 2020, 5:39 pm
By: Matt Rahn

The Grand River Dam Authority and the City of Siloam Springs in Arkansas are teaming up to bring a whitewater experience to the Illinois River.

The GRDA said it will be a one-of-a-kind experience in the area.

The WOKA Whitewater park will be just south of Siloam Springs on a part of the river that already has a low water dam in place. GRDA said they will carve out a course in what used to be the spillway for the dam.

"Approximately a 1,000-foot course will have eight drops that will allow for whitewater activity and it will be something that no other location around has," said GRDA President Dan Sullivan.

Sullivan said the park will be free to visitors except for a parking fee. Among other things, it will have restrooms, a place for spectators to watch and kayak rentals.

"They don't have to have their own equipment to be able to come and enjoy this,” Sullivan said. “They can rent it for the day, have the experience and go back home.”  

The Walton Family Foundation is providing $31 of the $33 million for the project, a gift Sullivan said will keep on giving.

"Which is a tremendous gift that they are providing and one that's going to make a great impact for many generations to come," Sullivan said.

The park is expected to open sometime in 2023.